NORWICH — With this holiday season marking Toys for Tots' 75th anniversary, Nina's Pizzeria and the Colonia Theater have teamed up for their fourth year of hosting a holiday-themed dinner and a movie event to benefit the Chenango County chapter of Toys for Tots.
Doors to the Colonia will open at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7 for a delicious dinner of Nina's salad, spaghetti and meatballs, dinner bread, assorted desserts, and drinks. At 6:30 p.m. Colonia employees will fire up the big screen for a showing of "Elf."
"The event is scheduled earlier in the evening as we are well aware of it falling on a school night," said owner of Nina's Pizzeria Dave Shull. "The dinner and movie will be complete around 8 p.m., allowing families to return home at a reasonable hour for a school night."
Admission to the event is $7 per person and a donation of one unwrapped toy. All money and toys collected will go to the Chenango County Toys for Tots, and Organizer Terry Potter said all those donations will be used to support the Chenango County community this holiday season.
In addition to a great meal and a family-friendly holiday movie, attendees will also have the opportunity to meet characters from the movie "Elf," and maybe get a chance to see Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The event is made possible by the hard work of volunteers and support from the community.
"Everyone helping are volunteers and it’s truly amazing to see the outpouring of support each and every year for this fundraiser," said owner of Nina's Pizzeria Dave Shull. "Many Nina’s employees and many Nina’s loyal customers will be there working hard to serve dinner."
Last year, the fundraiser was able to raise $3,050 for Toys for Tots. Shull encourages local individuals and families to stop by and enjoy dinner and a movie while supporting a great cause.
"This is a night the entire family can enjoy, and it will allow for other families to enjoy a wonderful Christmas this year," he said.
Several other local businesses and organizations have joined in the support of Toys for Tots. The charity recently received a donation from the Leatherstocking Corvette Club for the 18th year in a row, as well as transportation assistance for a trailer full of toys by the Norwich Police Department.
On Thursday, the Chenango County Association for Highway Superintendents will be holding their annual Christmas dinner for members, and each of the approximately 100 to 150 members will bring a toy to donate, according to Secretary and Treasurer Sue Alger.
She said the Association for Highway Superintendents have been supporting the organization with toy donations for around 20 years.
Other ways to support Toys for Tots during their 75th anniversary are by donating new, unwrapped toys to one of the many donation boxes around Chenango County, or by visiting Norwich-NY.ToysforTots.org to contribute financially.
Toys for Tots was founded in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks with the support of members from his Los Angeles Marine Corps Reserve unit. In 1948, Commandant of the Marine Corps General Cates adopted the organization and expanded it nationwide.
To date, Toys for Tots has collected approximately 627,000,000 toys to support over 281,000,000 children.